Congratulations to Willie Prince for 30 years of service!!!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Willie Prince’s first working day at the State Library of Queensland. From humble beginnings at Teneriffe to the glowing rebuild of the library as part of the Cultural Precinct, Willie has been an essential part of everyday library business.

His smiling face is known to many and his caring attitude to engaging and working with our community is acknowledged and valued by so many across the State.

Yesterday, I sat down with Willie and asked him some quick questions about his time here…so far!!

MY FIRST DAY

My first day was at the old PLS at 24 Macquarie Street, Teneriffe 30 years ago. I was 25 years old. I came up in the lift and spoke to some people and met Indra Kingston who later became my Supervisor.

I had an appointment with Desi Lyons who was the then Director of PLS and we had a long talk about myself and what had bought me to the library. Before starting this job, I was a paperboy, selling the Telegraph for 15 cents so getting this job was the first real paying job I ever had!

I met a lot of people, looked around the building and I had my walking sticks at that stage but it was still accessible back then. I started my day at 8am and finished at 5pm and I felt great!

MEMORIES FROM THE YEARS

THIS PLACE

It’s changed a lot but there have been some fun and memorable times.

In 2000, I was given the opportunity to carry the Paralympic torch. All my work colleagues supported me by lining the streets, clapping and cheering me on. They even had face masks!

The State Library is not just an institution – it’s about the people who work here and over the years, I have made long lasting friendships with both staff and visitors to the library.

People like Cara Colburn, who I first met when she was working in acquisitions at Tenerife. I have known her since those early days and still continue to see her in 2016.

Bruce Monley and Sue Barron helped fundraise to get my first motorised scooter. They have both continued to be great friends to me over the years.

Tracey Delahunty has been a colleague of mine from the old Teneriffe days. I have many stories to tell about those days and some that I shouldn’t share!! I do remember the staff parties being great fun and sometimes, we took a whole day off!

I do remember one day after a meeting, Tracey was helping me get into the car but my wheelchair started going one way and I went the other way! I rolled all the way down the hill! Poor Tracey had to get me but we finally managed to get me into the car! Talk about laugh!

When new were based at Teneriffe, if there was ever an evaluation drill, I was actually carried on the forklift – very slowly I might add. I had the best view and that poor fella didn’t know how to carry me properly.

When new were based at Teneriffe, if there was ever an evaluation drill, I was actually carried on the forklift – very slowly I might add. I had the best view and that poor fella didn’t know how to carry me properly.

THE BEST PART

The best part of working here at the State Library of Queensland has been and continues to be the friendships. The amount of support I have gotten from staff from all different areas of the organisation over the past 30 years has been amazing and continues to be important to me.

Working here was my first real job. My first real pay packet and I still love every second of it. I love being able to see people every day, have conversations with staff and public and I love seeing people down the street who recognise me.

When I got sick, I thought about finishing up and leaving but I also thought if I stop now, I might get worse. I wouldn’t have had the motivation to get up everyday. I would have nothing to live for. I had a purpose and it made me want to get better, to get back to work and do what I love.

I am extremely proud of my achievement. I didn’t think I would last this long but I am still here!’

Willie Prince

And we hope to see your smiling happy face in the corridors for many years to come Willie. On behalf of the kuril dhagun team and staff of the State Library of Queensland,  we are incredibly proud to walk beside you and are honoured to call you our workmate. Of course, you are more than a workmate. You are a leader, an advocate, a warrior, a carer, an artist, a champions and mostly, you are a dear friend who we love and admire.

Blog written by Nadine McDonald-Dowd

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